Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Does A Relevant, Connected Educator Look Like-Part 1

When Tom Whitby and I set out to write The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning we wanted to provide a manual for any educator who had a desire to improve their practice, as many have already done, by utilizing social media and other tools. We both had experienced tremendous growth in our professional and personal lives and we wanted to share how we got there with others.

Being a Relevant, Connected Educator is something, we believe, should be embraced by all educators everywhere. Today, with so much access to information, the way that learning is done is drastically different than it was just a handful of years ago. Professional development in many schools and districts has trouble keeping up with the latest pedagogical trends and some leaders refuse to embrace these methods as viable.

But what does a Relevant, Connected Educator look like? What do they do in their practice that sets them apart from those that don't use social learning as the backbone for their professional and personal learning? We believe there are eight things these educators do differently from the rest. Let's examine the first four.

Practices and Models Lifelong Learning-Most educators would say that they want their students to always love learning and do it far beyond school. Yet many don't practice it or only practice the learning as mandated by their leadership. Relevant, Connected Educators believe in the power that lifelong learning can have and are models of what that looks like. Digital resources has made it much easier for anyone to engage in learning any time, any where they are. And Relevant, Connected Educators plug in, often, to learn new skills, reflect on their practice and share learning with others.

Believes in Sharing and Collaboration-Learning is a very social activity. And think of all the things we wouldn't know had someone not shared knowledge with us. The sharing of knowledge is as old as time. Relevant, Connected Educators know the importance of sharing learning what they know and what they've curated. They also believe in the power of working together with others to improve and empower all.

Willing to Explore, Question, Elaborate, and Advance Ideas Through Connections With Other Educators-Just like sharing has been a part of learning since the beginning of time, disagreement and discourse as been as well. Debates help push our thinking and see all sides of arguments and issues. Relevant, Connected Educators use all the tools at their disposal to not only debate but reflect on their own ideas and explore new ones. Twitter chats, blogs and social communities help bring many ideas together in one place for us to learn from and with.

Views Failure as Part of the Learning Process-Most educators will admit they had a lesson (or in my case, several) that just didn't go the way it should. For one reason or another the expected outcomes didn't match with the actual. Some, would get frustrated and move on or make excuses and place the blame else where. Relevant, Connected Educators embrace failure as part of their learning. And, taking it one step further, they reflect on that failure, sometimes sharing it publicly so others can reflect along with them and offer suggestions or insight.

These are just the first 4 tenets of being a Relevant, Connected Educator. What do you think? How as doing any or all of these benefited you and your learning?

In Part 2 we will look at the last 4 and some ideas on where to get started on the path to being a Relevant, Connected Educator!

Photo Credit: The New School via photopin cc
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